Birth

  • Review Date: April 15, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Common Sense Media says

What were they thinking?
  • Review Date: April 15, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive role models

The only minority cast member plays a somewhat stereotyped family retainer.

Violence

Creepy and tense atmosphere, some shoving.

Sex

Explicit sexual situation, references, inappropriate relationship with child.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie includes sexual references, including adultery, and an explicit (and completely gratuitous) sexual situation as well as situations that come close to sexual abuse of a minor. A young boy takes a bath with an adult woman and later they kiss. Characters drink and smoke and use some strong language. The only minority cast member plays a somewhat stereotyped family retainer. The themes may be very disturbing to some audience members.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

BIRTH centers on Anna (Nicole Kidman), a widow who's preparing to marry her fiancc Joseph, until she meets 10-year-old Sean (Cameron Bright). At the couple's engagement party, Sean tells Anna that he's the reincarnation of her late husband. At first, Anna dismisses Sean's proclamation, believing him to be a disturbed kid with a crush on her. But when Sean keeps revealing moments in Anna's life, she begins to wonder if he's telling the truth, and her life begins to unravel.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Birth's premise is enticing, but more attention given is given to elegant decors than to the film's underlying theories. Has Sean returned to prevent Anna from marrying someone who is hiding his true nature? Was Sean less than the devoted husband Anna wants to remember? Is this just a disturbed boy, obsessed with a beautiful woman? Any of these could have been the basis for a good movie, but the film just hints in those directions and then doubles back.

Meanwhile, the film gets creepy in ways it apparently does not intend, such as when Anna tries to shock Sean out of his delusion by asking him how he intends to satisfy her sexually. And the last fifteen minutes make no sense whatsoever. In the midst of all this mess, there are some lovely performances, especially Alison Elliot as Anna's pregnant sister, Arliss Howard as her husband, and Ted Levine and Cara Seymour as Sean's parents. All create real characters in their brief screen time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own views on life after death. What would they like to hear from those they have lost? What should we say now to those who are still here?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 28, 2004
DVD release date:April 19, 2005
Cast:Anne Heche, Lauren Bacall, Nicole Kidman
Director:Jonathan Glazer
Studio:New Line
Genre:Drama
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexuality

This review of Birth was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byNiklas Dabolins October 11, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Eerie movie with a very slow pace!

This is one of the best movies I have seen when it comes to the acting but maybe not when it comes to the cutting and the way it ends. There is nothing controversial about it unless you are an American, which I am not.
Teen, 14 years old Written byperson14 November 1, 2009
AGE
16
QUALITY
 
This movie is gross, Nicole Kidman's character falls in love with a child that she thinks is her dead husband, some parts of the movie contain disturbing language in graphic sexual manner. Don't waste your time watching this horrible movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byArineli April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I Get It

Birth is one of those films that is very easy to bash if you don't understand what the story is really about. I don't know what goes into marketing a film but I don't see which other direction could have been taken. It was marketed as some supernatural-type of story when it really is so much more than that. I think I get what it is that this film addresses. It's a story about a woman who lost her husband prematurely. It takes a unique look at how this woman grieves. It seems that losing her husband must have left her with some kind of post-traumatic stress. When unexpected things happen people deal in their own way. Ten years pass and this boy comes along and tells her he's her [dead] husband. She seems never to have really gotten over it and in her grief and desperation is willing to believe anything other than he is gone for good. I can see where this film would make some people uncomfortable. There are these endless takes which begs to question if the director is sending us subliminal messages or trying to hypnotize us. It can be unsettling because it forces you to be still and just watch. There is one sex scene that does seem gratuitous but its over fairly quickly. The scenes in question with the boy seem to be blown a little out of proportion. When the boy disrobes and enters the tub you never see him naked (the camera just makes it look that way). In the other scene when he moves in to kiss her she is still like a mannequin. By the angle it was shot I'm not even so sure he kissed her on the lips. I do have to sing Nicole Kidman's praises, she was outstanding...brilliant!!! She was so much better in this than the role which won her an Oscar (the hours). She definitely deserves and Oscar nod. The emotional range is something, you just feel for her. I also have to say, I don't particularly like Anne Heche. However, she was only in the movie for a few scenes, yet she was so impactful. With all that I just need to say that Birth is definitely a film worth watching with an open mind...its worth it.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools